March 8, 2012



Viewers could tell that REVENGE wasn’t FOR REAL.
ABC:  Serialized dramas repeat notoriously badly, so the network had the clever idea of filling in the spring schedule gap with a “news” show about true-life crimes that presumably are similar to those in the show, albeit without Emily Van Camp or Madeleine Stowe.  The resulting REVENGE FOR REAL was probably about where ABC expected, a full ratings point down from real Revenge episodes, but a little higher than repeats have been scoring.  The network tried to give For Real a lead-in with a new episode of HAPPY ENDINGS, but that ended up unnecessarily burning off a fresh (and funny, particularly for John Hughes fans) Happy episode, which hit a season low and didn’t do any better coming out of a MODERN FAMILY repeat than a Happy rerun would have done. 

NBC:  Oh, NBC Wednesday, what’s to be done with you?  Last night’s new episodes of WHITNEY and ARE YOU THERE, CHELSEA could no more than tie the repeats on ABC of THE MIDDLE and SUBURGATORY that aired against them.  Then the network started its 2-week experiment of moving SVU reruns to 9PM (until BENT–very temporarily–takes the slot), which was a catastrophe that resulted in a previously unimaginable (even for a rerun) 1.0 rating for SVU, which just a couple of years ago was one of the most reliably repeating series on the schedule.  To the extent there’s a bright side to any of this, the move of ROCK CENTER to 10PM supercharged that show all the way to a 1.0 rating, which was pathetically just 0.1 below its series high.  
FOX:  The season’s song played again for AMERICAN IDOL, as it increased from last week (against mostly repeats on the other networks), but remained more than 35% below last year’s numbers.
CBSSURVIVOR may also have benefited from the repeat competition and hit a cycle high.  At 10PM, a repeat CSI handily beat both of the new (albeit unscripted) shows on the other networks.
CWONE TREE HILL continued to hold at a 0.7, while AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL, perhaps benefiting from the large number of viewers for Monday’s repeat of its season premiere, ticked up 0.1 to 0.6 (still far below last season).
Tonight NBC will sleeplessly await the Week 2 ratings for AWAKE, which this week has to face a new THE MENTALIST.  FOX airs the last Thursday night episode of THE FINDER before it’s shipped off to Fridays, and only ABC is in repeats.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."